The following information will cover properly addressing the golf ball. No, we are not talking about politely beginning your pleas for mercy to the ball with “sir” or “miss”. We are talking about what is commonly called the “set-up” or “address” position, which the golfer takes-up prior to playing a stroke.
There are primarily 4 pre-swing elements which are fundamental to proper technique; grip, posture, alignment, and ball position. The grip, which involves the way the hands are placed on the handle of the club, is deserving of its own piece.
Here, we will focus on the remaining 3, which cover the proper body position for addressing the golf ball.
The proper posture for golf is entirely similar to that of other athletics. The golfer is an athlete also and the body position should be one which allows the golfer to move with coordination, speed, and balance – to be athletic. The knees should be bent slightly. The back should be fairly straight and inclined forward to allow the arms and hands to hang freely away from the thighs. The weight should be centered in the feet between the heel and toes. The distribution of weight should favor the target side slightly. The toes may be turned outward slightly.
Alignment should really begin with the eyes. An imaginary line connecting the eyes forms your “eye-line”, which should parallel the intended swing direction through the ball to the target. All of the major join pairs of the body; ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, and wrists, should all share this same parallel alignment the ball-to-target line.
Traditionally, there have been two approaches to ball position. Each with its own prominent supporters, the options are either; the same ball position for all of the clubs, or a ball positioning which progresses “back” toward the golfer’s trail foot as the clubs get shorter and more lofted. Allow me to clear-up the seeming contradiction and show how each can actually be one and the same.
First, recognize that in a proper golf swing, the bottom of the arc of the club-head should be roughly in-line with the lead shoulder.
Second, the point of contact should progress further behind that lowest point as the clubs get shorter and more lofted. In other words, as the clubs get shorter and more lofted, the club-head should strike a more downward blow upon the ball.
Now, when we take the advice of such legendary pros like Jack Nicklaus and Ben Hogan and position the ball in-line with a point just inside the lead heel, it seems as though we have a problem. That is until we realize that as the clubs get shorter and more lofted, we should also narrow the stance slightly, changing the position of the lead shoulder! So while the ball position is constantly just inside the lead heel, the lead shoulder moves progressively ahead of the ball as we work our way down from driver to wedge, allowing for a more descending strike along the way.
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